Workforce: the borderless labor market still faces many obstacles

It is not easy, despite the advances in teleworking, to have employees across borders. Especially in Canada, and even more in Quebec, reports a study.

Faced with a scarcity of labor and fierce competition in the hunt for talent, nearly two-thirds of Canadian companies surveyed by the consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) for the Canadian Payroll Association are already using or at the very least say they are open to hiring employees who telework from another province. Almost two in five would not stop at Canada’s borders and would thus recruit their workers remotely from foreign countries.

These proportions are even higher in the professional services sector, where 78% of respondents consider interprovincial teleworking or have already done so, in the finance and insurance sector, where this proportion is 86%, or in that of information and communication technologies, where the proportion is 100% for interprovincial recruitment and 67% for international recruitment, reports the study of sixty pages of PWC unveiled Wednesday.

Canadian companies are far from the only ones ready to hire remote employees. A similar survey carried out in the United States found that 88% of companies were looking nationwide and 36% beyond its borders, while another survey, conducted this one in seven countries, respectively found averages of 71% and 63%.

Far from the cut to the lips

In Canada, this form of recruitment seems to be of particular interest to large companies that are already doing business in other provinces or other countries where they intend to add new employees through teleworking. And there is a good reason for this.

Often conceived at a time when the normal way of working was to go daily to a factory or an office located a few minutes away from home, labor standards and tax rules sometimes do not work well beyond that. borders.

The ways in which income tax revenues are shared between countries, how to allocate contributions to the right social security fund, and to channel contributions into the right public pension system may vary from country to country. .

They seem particularly different in Canada, where the requirements are “sometimes more complex than elsewhere”, the rules for international recruitment “stricter”, the guidelines less clear and the administrative burden “relatively heavy”, reports PWC in comparison with five other countries, including the United States, United Kingdom and Australia.

The situation in Quebec is not any simpler, even for Canadian companies that would like to hire workers from another province. “There is a consensus among all employers [canadiens] asked about the fact that Quebec, with its separate tax system, is a major obstacle in the decision to hire staff in the province, when the employer does not already ensure a presence there, ”indicates the study.

Managing relationships with its revenue agency and separate annuity plan, parental insurance programs, health tax, and other differences with the rest of Canada quickly becomes “time consuming” and overly complicated.

But is this not an indirect way of protecting its weak reserves of labor in a world where competition is fierce in this regard and where we know, in particular, that “employers established in the States United generally offer much higher wages ”?

Perhaps, but the recruitment of local workers by outside companies also limits the brain drain, maintains a local income tax base, “can create positive spillovers within professional communities, and swell the ranks. qualified employees, which Canadian employers can then hire in turn, ”say the study’s authors.

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